WASHINGTON — President Clinton sought to rekindle the can-do spirit of the Kennedy era Saturday with an appeal to fellow Boys Nation alumni and this year's class to help overcome public cynicism toward politicians.
Clinton's handshake with President John F. Kennedy in the Rose Garden exactly 30 years ago helped set the 16-year-old Arkansan on the course that led him to the White House.
This time, all 96 of this year's Boys Nation delegates got to shake the President's hand.
Boys Nation is a model government program.
Clinton recalled 1963 as "a very different time for America. . . . None of us had any doubt that our country could solve its problems."
But now huge budget deficits have paralyzed the country's ability to fight poverty and tackle other ills, he said.
"Until the American people can overcome their cynicism . . . it is going to be very difficult for us to solve the problems of this country," he said.